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Morristown could send students to other schools next year

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MORRISTOWN – Morristown Central School officials are considering sending high school students to other districts next year if a regional high school fails to materialize.

With a dwindling fund balance and no new revenue streams expected, the Board of Education voted Tuesday to include in its goals for next year: “Collaborate with the superintendent, administration and staff to develop methods for advancing the cause of alternative 7-12 offerings through the regional school plan, tuitioning or other means in light of yearly reduced state aid and a 2 percent budget cap.”

The St. Lawrence County district, which runs one school for kindergarten through 12th grade and graduated 23 students this June, has a fund balance of $1.5 million. Superintendent David J. Glover has said it is not being refilled as operating costs outstrip revenue and state aid. He said previously that the school district will be financially and educationally insolvent within the next few years.

Mr. Glover said the administrations at Morristown, Heuvelton and Hermon-DeKalb central schools will meet Monday evening to continue to hash out a plan for a regional high school.

But since there are no laws on the books setting a framework for regional high schools, having such a school in place by next year is not likely unless the state Legislature acts.

The board has set a priority for paying tuition for students to attend neighboring schools.

The state already has laws in place allowing tuition agreements with neighboring schools as an option for struggling districts.

“A school district could send their kids to another school for high school,” Mr. Glover said.

If another district agreed to the program “we’d have an agreement to pay them tuition to teach our kids,” he said.

Mr. Glover said Morristown could set up this arrangement with any, or all, districts that border Morristown.

“Families would have a one-time choice where they want to go,” he said.

“The board is looking at what we can do and get a plan to maintain offerings for kids in light of our fiscal situation,” Mr. Glover said.

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